Silicon Valley Preparing for Switch to a High Frequency Bus Grid

A Silicon Valley columnist debates the tough political questions inherent to the process of redesigning local bus service.

1 minute read

April 21, 2016, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


VTA Bus

Richard Masoner / Flickr

Scott Herhold writes a column about the inevitable trade-offs and sacrifices that occur when transit agencies update their bus transit service to a high frequency grid. In this case, Herhold is writing about the process underway at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in and around San Jose, California.

Herhold has experience relying on one of the lightly used bus routes currently up for debate in the process to redesign the VTA bus system. A familiar name to Planetizen readers, Jarrett Walker, "has suggested a menu of possible changes that would increase service on popular routes and decrease buses on lightly traveled routes."

Despite his reliance on a mostly empty bus route, Herhold makes it clear that he supports the Walker's concept. "The right answer is absolutely clear: To bolster ridership and fare box return, you have to increase the frequency on popular routes and cut service on unpopular routes," writes Herhold.

One of Herhold's primary argument is that the VTA bus system is in crisis, with declining ridership and a faltering business model. The high frequency grid, according to Herhold, offers a chance to make the most of the opportunities borne from crisis, despite the rock and hard place the VTA system finds itself in.

Monday, April 18, 2016 in San Jose Mercury News

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